The agency said Thursday it is working to deport him to the country he left as a toddler along with thousands of other Cubans in 1980 in what became known as the Mariel boat lift. Cuba agrees to consider taking back Cubans slated for deportation from the USA on a case-by-case basis. If Cuba refuses to accept him, he could be allowed to remain in the United States with orders to check in regularly with immigration officials.
Lima-Marin was convicted in 1998 for his role in two armed robberies and sentenced to 98 years in prison. It took the State of Colorado six years to realize that a clerical issue was behind Lima-Marin's early release and he was returned to his cell.
"In effect, after its utter lack of care led to Lima-Marin's premature release and prolonged erroneous liberty, in January 2014, the government chose to compensate for its transgressions by swiftly turning back the clock and returning Lima-Marin to prison - not through the use of a magic wand or the invention of a time machine built out of a DeLorean, which might have transported him back to his life in April 2008, but through the simple issuance of an arrest warrant, which merely put him back in prison, disregarding everything that had transpired between April 2008 and January 2014", Samour said.
Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents arrested 38-year-old Rene Lima-Marin after he was released from prison Wednesday. But ICE can request that an inmate suspected of an immigration violation be held after their release from jail or prison under a form referred to as a hold or a detainer.
Lima-Marin was brought to the U.S. when he was two years old by his parents, who fled from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift, according to the Denver Post.
Chief Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour Jr. ordered his release from the private prison on Tuesday saying it would be "draconian" and "utterly unjust" to keep him in prison.
It's not clear whether ICE was notified and took custody of Lima-Marin when he was mistakenly released in 2008.More news: Besieged White House denies, defends as new bombshells hit
President Donald Trump has been critical of Obama's efforts to improve relations with Cuba.
Sebastian Arcos, associate director of the Cuban Research Institute, says the end of that policy did little to settle rules for repatriation.
The Colorado Legislature approved a nonbinding resolution earlier this month urging Gov. John Hickenlooper to grant Lima-Marin clemency.
"We can't imagine the emotional roller coast this family has endured".
His wife, Jasmine, said she remains hopeful the family will be reunited "sooner rather than later".
"He said, 'Did you hear?' And I was like, 'Yeah, ' and I could just hear his smile", said Jasmine Lima-Marin. Instead, he called her to tell her that he was being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Everyone is completely devastated", Diego said.
An attorney met with Lima-Marin and, based on the content of the paperwork, told him that his sentence had been reduced to 16 years.